Theme 5: Meat Quality
A high level of variability in meat quality still remains with a significant percentage being unacceptable to the consumer, from an eating quality perspective. Therefore, there is a need for MTI to continue to define the best practice in meat quality management systems in processing beef and sheep meat carcasses. The MTI research plan for Theme 5 is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the influence of pre- and post-rigor key factors on tenderness development, in both beef and lamb, in a commercial setting and provide a means to apply this information to guide meat management systems for Irish processors. Phase II aims to better understand the impact of maturation on beef tenderness [& other quality traits] by developing an innovative cost effective method using early post-mortem measurements, molecular markers and other proxies in predicting beef tenderness under the Irish processing context. The research team will rely on targeted proteomics in the frame of data-independent acquisition (DIA) proteomics with the goal of improving the understanding of the mechanisms regulating beef maturation and tenderness outcomes. In this Phase II, a baseline study will determine the current landscape for lamb meat processing and what the impact of pre – and post-mortem factors (pH decline, chilling regime, aging time, season, etc.) may have on eating quality, shelf-life and nutritional properties of Irish lamb meat. The outcome of this research will provide a “blue print” road map for lamb processing, aiming to acquire knowledge about main factors affecting the tenderness, within an Irish processing frame, and to reduce the variability observed by the consumer.